Saturday, January 21, 2012

#1 In A Very Occasional Series: "How To Tell If You're Really A Writer"

One huge and undeniable difference between men and women can be summed up in a single word: shopping. With only rare exceptions (which sometimes, but not always, are linked to sexual preference), women love to shop, and men hate it. Give a woman a credit card with an asymptotic limit and parachute her onto Rodeo Drive, and you might as well have dynamited the Pearly Gates for her. On the other hand, point out to a man that the seat of his jeans has been worn to gossamer transparency, or that his T-shirt has so many rips and holes in it that one can barely make out the IMPEACH NIXON slogan it sports, and insist that he come along for at least an attempt at building a new wardrobe, and chances are that he'll cling to every doorjamb and article of furniture within reach with the howling desperation of a Warner Bros. cartoon cat about to be thrown from his place on the warm hearth out into the unforgiving night.

Myself, I belong to the latter tribe. I have at least one sweater that I bought in Wales over 30 years ago that's still intermittently wearable, and two pairs of Levi's 501s with 32" waists that still fit -- as long as I don't breathe. The Southern California climate is such that I can get by with shorts and a T-shirt, and I'm perfectly happy to do so, as long as I can avoid any stores that contain primarily cotton and denim. This anathema extends to just about any product -- with the notable exception of CDs, DVDs, and other media, which I usually buy online. In short, I hate shopping for just about anything.

With one notable exception -- and that leads us back to the slugline to this piece.

Put me in Staples, Office Depot, or just about any stationery store or anyplace where they sell writing or office supplies, and I immediately become a ten-year old in a candy store. I've been known to actually drool in such places (although that's probably the Parkinson's). I've literally had palpitations standing in the various aisles. It's not a pretty sight.

But it seems to me a fairly good indication that, at least as far as physical accoutrements are concerned, I love the trappings of a writer. I even love actually venturing physically from my lair and going to such stores.

And, best of all, it's all deductible.


Victoria Pavlova said...

I used to love shopping (which is not surprising with my being a gal and all) but I switched to online a couple of years ago and never looked back. These days I can get lost in Saks :) I hate mirrors and lighting in fitting rooms, noisy personnel, I can't find anything on the racks and so on. But feel free to give me a credit card with an asymptotic limit any day :)

Men seem to have a similar attitude to gadgets. I know a guy who buys any new shiny thing on the market whether he needs it or not (usually in the NOT range). Too bad I love gadgets almost as much as I love shoes :) have to restrain myself.

I can't afford another obsession like office supplies but I do have a thing for drawing supplies. The smell inside a huge box of colored pencils is intoxicating.

Rebekah said...

SO TRUE. I loathe shopping for anything that's not books (despite my total lack of a Y chromosome), but I buy my pens by the triple dozen because I have become addicted to a particular variety, and I once killed an anxiety attack by buying a particularly well-constructed spiral notebook (in which I later wrote a novel, so at least it didn't go to waste). So far I keep my cravings within a budget ... so far.

Sandra G said...

My thing is books. Walking into a bookstore feels as thrilling to me as a shopping spree down Rodeo mighty feel to the Kardashians. It’s about the weight of the tome in my hands, the secret of the hidden messages on the paper, the promise of a good story. On the other hand, the sight of a pretty dress on a store’s window it’s just that: a pretty dress. It might serve its purpose once, but the moment it’s shed from the body that worn it, it’s nothing but a piece of cloth.
Things can tell stories, archeology can attest to that. But at the end of the day stories are the ones that withstand the test of time.
And come on James, give women some credit. Rodeo Dr. really? We are a lot smarter than that.

Sandra G said...

Sorry Michael, I think I just called you James.